Now that the 2014 FIFA World Cup has ended, the countdown to the 2014-2015 La Liga season has begun. Barcelona came in second in the league last season, and like most teams, they will be looking to revitalize their team.
Barcelona have notably signed one goalkeeper during this transfer season: Claudio Bravo. The Chilean keeper had a good performance in the World Cup and will have to work for that starting goalkeeper spot. Bravo will undoubtedly bring more personality into the roster, as well as quick foot work and a competitive character.
Adoni Zubizarreta has described Claudio Bravo as a keeper who “relates well with his defenders and is excellent with his feet”. He then added that he is “delighted that there’s so much competition for the goalkeeper’s role” because Bravo is not the only keeper Barcelona has.
Bravo is likely to start because he’s the star keeper right now and Barcelona will probably bring out the big guns. Puyol’s retirement leaves one very good spot open next to Gerard Pique when it comes to defenders. Pique will definitely be in the starting 11 along with teammates Dani Alves and Jordi Alba and Bartra.
Alves has a reputation for being an attacking fullback who makes his presence known very easily. Jordi Alba, also an attacking fullback, cleans up better than Alves, meaning that he chooses better moments to make his forward runs. They have different styles of play, but they are nevertheless a very dominant duo.
Another good duo is that of Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra. Both centrebacks are accurately described by Bleacher Report as being “Prominent Passers” who transport the ball to the midfield. Both of them are essential to starting up a play.
In the midfield there will hopefully be some familiar faces. Xavi and Iniesta have their positions on the team secured. Xavi is a playmaker who makes excellent passes and typically finds the striker(s). Iniesta, the second and just as important playmaker, will rarely lose a ball to an opposing team. He is hailed for his skills, especially when he is surrounded by many and yet maintains the ball.
Busquets is a very complete midfielder who will stand his ground, and like Iniesta, he will rarely give the ball away. Barcelona’s new number 4, Ivan Rakitic, an offensive midfielder, is great at assisting, so he is an asset Barcelona should put on the field.
The main faces of Barcelona, the strikers, will probably be Messi and Luis Suarez (once he completes his ban). Suarez’ unpredictability and Messi’s individual technique will make for a show stopping Barcelona team.